Kenya's Excess of Policies Can't Deal With Climate Change

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In March this year the government launched the National Climate Change Plan to operationalise the existing NCCRS, but Gicharu pointed out that it was not a policy document.

"There is no specific policy on climate change and agriculture," she said.

According to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, there are at least 90 national policies and laws relevant to climate change, including the Natural Resource Information Management policy, Energy policy, and the Water Act. But Gicharu said that most of these policies had no provisions on how to address climate change.

"Reading these laws, you do not get a sense of what needs to be done to mitigate or adapt to climate change," she said. "All of them have significant implications on the environment and climate change, but they are yet to be harmonised. All of them have competing goals and interests. So policy challenges exist within policies and also across policies."

She said the government's ambitious plan to place half a million hectares under modern irrigation, which is part of the Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme in Kilifi County in southern Kenya, as a climate change adaptation method to boost production would be difficult to implement because of conflicting policies. The government also plans to place an additional 1.25 million hectares in arid and semi-arid areas of the country under irrigation.

"The National Land policy and the Water Act lack clear coordination guidelines which will certainly interfere with these kind of priority climate adaptation plans."

Gathuru Mburu, coordinator of the African Biodiversity Network, told IPS that if the government failed to meet its financial obligation to combat climate change, other stakeholders would fill the vacuum, sometimes to the detriment of the people.

"Multinationals are behind various policies which they claim are to combat climate change, but these policies have nothing to do with climate change and are targeting to edge out vulnerable farmers. They [multinationals] intend to criminalise the informal sector, in other words, the small-scale farmers," he said.

He was referring to a proposed seed and anti-counterfeiting law that, if passed, will require farmers to only used certified seeds.

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